12:26 GMT +324 January 2019
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    Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, and Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, arrive for a working lunch at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.

    Japanese Politician Expects Abe, Putin to Confirm South Kurils Joint Activities

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    Muneo Suzuki, head of the New Party Daichi, said that he expected Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin to confirm agreement on joint economic activities on the South Kuril islands.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Muneo Suzuki, head of the New Party Daichi, known as Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s unofficial adviser on relations with Russia, told the Izvestia newspaper that he expected Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin to confirm agreement on joint economic activities on the South Kuril islands.

    According to Japanese media reports Abe is going to visit Russia on April 27 – 28.

    “I think that during this visit the leaders’ agreement on how the joint economic activities should be carried out will be somehow confirmed and formalized,” Suzuki said.

    He also said that the leaders were likely to discuss introduction of visa free regime for former Japanese residents of the South Kurils so that they could visit graves of their relatives.

    “I also think they will discuss implementation of eight spheres of cooperation proposed by the Japanese party during the meeting in Sochi on May 6 last year. Concerning the international issues, the leaders are likely to discuss Syria and North Korea,” Suzuki said referring to Abe’s plan of cooperation in the spheres of energy, industry, health care, agriculture, urbanism, business, high technologies and humanitarian exchanges.

    He added that Abe was very interested in improving Russian-US relations.

    Russia and Japan are taking a step forward in resolving the Kuril Islands standoff after Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the second rounds of talks on the issue in late 2016. The two leaders agreed to create a special regime on the islands leading to the establishment joint economic projects.

    Moscow and Tokyo never signed a permanent peace treaty after the World War II due to a disagreement over the group of islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan the Northern Territories, encompassing the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai.


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